.38+P vs .357 magnum

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by thomas44, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. thomas44

    thomas44 New Member

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    I've got a 2.25" SP101 that I carry concealed, and was wondering about the effectiveness of .38+P ammo compared to that of .357 ammo. Any pertinent thoughts or data ? I currently carry .357 Hydrashocks.
  2. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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  3. thomas44

    thomas44 New Member

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    That was what I was looking for. Thanks Josh. I guess I will stick with the hydrashocks. I did some very informal testing at the range this morning and shot through 2- 250 page phone books with both .38 handloads and .357 handloads, but all that did was reafirm the fact that I wouldn't want to get hit with either a .38 or a .357 !
  4. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    :eek: Yeah, I'm with you.

    We can talk all day about with hits harder, and there are definitely cases in which the .357 is effective and the .38 would not be, but I certainly don't want to be the test subject.
  5. qcsmitty

    qcsmitty New Member

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    I just my two cents from a new member:
    I live in a metropolitan area with car-jacking/road rage risks. I consider the "overpenetration factor" with a 357 magnum round in addition to the repeat (db noise level) in a small enclosed space. I also own a 2.25" barrel SP101 and get supersonic (approx 1120 fps = speed of sound) velocity from the 357 Magnum Hydra Shok rounds I've fired at the range. This adds more of a loud supersonic "crack" to what is already a brutally high db level of the typical 357 magnum round. The 38 +P rounds such as Winchester DPX1 (Supreme Elite) and Speer Gold Dot SB 130 grain bolded JHP's provide great expansion at SUBsonic velocity (850-900 fps for these rounds) with far less risk of permanent hearing loss. Consider the environment in which you are most likely to discharge your weapon in SD. That being said, when I travel on the highway on road trips or plan to be in a more open space like the woods, etc. I load her with magnum rounds. I figure that if confronted on a trip, I may be engaging an attacker from outside the vehicle in a less populated scenario. Just my preference. Check out this site for more info on db levels of various rounds.

    http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

    Hope this helps. Either way, I would suggest you look into ammo designed for short barrel guns . Buffalo Bore (BB also does great 357 magnum rounds for short barrel) 38 +P low flash/low recoil for short barrel, Win PDX1 38 +P and Speer Gold Dot 38 +P for Short Barrel are two very good choices. Your db levels, recoil and muzzle flash will be minimized with plenty of expansion of the bullet in soft tissue.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  6. qcsmitty

    qcsmitty New Member

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    Good stuff. The writer suggests however that higher velocity = better or more potent bullet. Repeat, muzzle flash, recoil as well as bullet expansion are to be considered, no? If I discharge my SP101 with a full house 357 magnum load from within my car or any tight enclosed area, I'll be at very high risk of experiencing severe hearing loss. If I'm in my home and discharge in SD a full 357 mag load and I'm blinded by the first muzzle flash and stunned by recoil, what good am I to my wife if I cannot effectively squeeze off a follow-up round quickly & accurately? Just another school of thought. Frankly I've agonized a bit over the subject myself as I do not want to sacrifice potency unnecessarily in the interest of protecting my hearing and hope I have the best round in my snubby if needed, God forbid. Great topic, btw.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    +1 to that; planning as best as possible for the most feasible scenario is what will ensure one's best outcome. Can't cover all the bases, but it pays to think about it. I think you nailed it, it isn't just a 38 vs 357 ballistics issue, it's more about what you anticipate running into.
  8. thomas44

    thomas44 New Member

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    Maybe I should be, but I'm not too worried about the db level of various rounds. If there is a life on the line, that's the last thing I'm worried about. Sometimes I think I'm half deaf anyway...wait, no, I just don't listen to anybody ! LOL I just saw some .38+P ammo at WalMart one day and thought about purchasing them instead of driving 40 miles to my favorite gun store, but I'll need some stuff for my annual winter reloading session anyway. I'm going to stick with the hydrashocks and hope I never have to use them.
  9. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

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    I would agree that with that gun, the highest power is the best option. I had an SP in .38, and worked up a load with the Sierra 180 gr. HC round for about 850 fps. Accuracy was horrible, and power was just not what I expect from a SD gun. I gave it away.
  10. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I also own an SP101. I love the gun with .38's in it, but hate it with the full mag loads. I can't hit anything with it, and the muzzle blast is horribile, not to mention the recoil! Try shooting it at night! It will leave you blind for several seconds, and that's just not acceptable to me. I reload, so the .357 rounds I reload are reduced loads, that's for plinking. For SD I won't use the reloads, and there is nothing on the market that will get the .357 down to acceptable levels. Bottom line for me is this: I also own a .38 snubie, and this gun is much lighter than the SP 101, so the recoil is greater. The felt recoil in the Ruger with .38's is much less than with the Off Duty, but the Ruger is heavier to carry. The Ruger has become my car gun, loaded with .38+P's, when I am in it, with my .45, or my .44 as a CCW, or home gun. Along with my NAA in .22 Mag as a BUG.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  11. Rhuga

    Rhuga New Member

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    Good info. A lot depends on the ammo and slug type, The barrel length, and if you want to shoot engine blocks or not. lol
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